The construction and operation of gas transmission pipes, as well as related structures, are specifically regulated by The Environmental Code by decree no. 2012-615 of 2 May 2012 on safety, authorisation, and declaration of public utility of gas, hydrocarbon, and chemical product transmission pipes (articles R555-1 to R555-53).
Depending on the case, authorisation to construct and operate pipelines is delivered by ministerial or Prefectoral decree.
The instructions within these authorisations take into account requirements related to structural safety, protection of the environment and natural areas, impact on aquatic resources (water law), town planning, historical monuments, and archaeological zones. During the design phase, Teréga pays particular attention to these challenges and subsequently determines the route with the least impact.
The decree of 5 March 2014 sets out the conditions for the implementation of chapter V of title V of book V of the French environmental code and regulates the safety of pipelines used for the transport of natural gas or similar substances, hydrocarbon and chemical products. It specifies the construction and operational safety rules applicable to pipelines throughout their lifespan.
This decree is based on a benchmark standard and approved professional guidelines which require, among other things, that a study on the hazards of the existing network be produced and reviewed every five years and that installations are brought into compliance.
It also provides for the drawing up of a monitoring and maintenance programme guaranteeing comprehensive periodic examination of the pipelines.
The development of town planning is also taken into account: for every public access building that is likely to hold more than 100 people and new projects close to pipelines, Teréga must be consulted in order to set out the possible precautions or compensatory measures to take.
The Environmental Code, in the ‘Safety of underground, overhead, or subaquatic transmission or distribution networks' section (articles R554-1 to R554-38), provides for:
- Obligatory prior consultation of the single information point by project managers and those carrying out works to identify nearby existing network;
- Obligation on the part of all persons carrying out works nearby to gas transmission pipes, after consulting the single information point, to contact Teréga at least ten clear days before the planned start of works on site to declare their intention to begin works (DICT).
It should be noted that as part of anti-damage reform, persons performing works nearby by to networks must be duly competent. Furthermore, skills gained by an employee working on the preparation or execution of works nearby to networks will be confirmed by the employer by awarding an 'Autorisation d’Intervention à Proximité des Réseaux' (Authorisation to work nearby to networks). Such awards will be obligatory from 1 January 2018.